By Rebecca Billman
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The Rev. Dr. Stanley C. Tillman, a Jesuit for 70 years and a former philosophy professor at Xavier University, died Thursday at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Mich. The Newport native was 88.
He spent his career teaching at Jesuit high schools and universities and serving at parishes in Kentucky.
"Stan was a beloved professor," said The Rev. Dr. Walt Bado of Lexington, a colleague in Xavier's philosophy department. "He was an excellent teacher - a very demanding teacher. But his students did well and had great respect for him."
For 10 years, Father Tillman arranged a series of retreats to the Holy Land for Jesuit priests and brothers during Xavier's summer breaks. "He did everything: arranged lodging, flights, and all the other details, and prepared a program based on the Spiritual Exercises," Father Bado said. The Rev. Dr. Frank Oppenheim of Milford, another XU philosophy professor, said Father Tillman was an excellent teacher who engaged his students "directly and personally. He was a bit of a bulldog, a teacher who challenged students to meet deep questions and think about them. His personality was all over the room."
Father Tillman was born in Newport in 1914 and graduated from St. Xavier High School before entering the Society of Jesus in 1932. He completed a bachelor's in Greek, Latin and English at Xavier in 1937 and earned a master's in Greek from Loyola University in Chicago in 1942.
He was ordained in West Baden, Ind., in 1945 and earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from St. Louis University in 1954.
Father Tillman taught at the University of Detroit High School and Loyola Academy in Chicago and at Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Ill.
He came to Xavier as professor of philosophy in 1953 and was appointed chair of the department the next year. After teaching at Loyola and at Loyola's Rome Center, Father Tillman returned to Xavier in 1966 where he taught until he retired in 1985.
After retirement he moved to Murray, Ky., to serve as pastor of St. Leo Church and campus minister at Murray State University.
"Stan was 71 then," said the Rev. Dr. Leo Klein of Evanston, the priest who invited Father Tillman to join his initiative at Murray State. "He could've said, `No, I'd rather just retire at Xavier,' but instead he packed up to go to Kentucky to start a new Jesuit mission. He was willing to serve in any way he could."
Father Tillman began serving as administrator of St. Gregory's parish in Barbourville, Ky., in 1992. There he helped rebuild the church and its surrounding buildings, which were in disrepair.
He retired to Clarkston in 1999
He is survived by a sister, Ruthanne Rust, of Wilder, Ky.
Visitation is 3-7:30 p.m. today at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Mich. Mass of Christian burial is 10:45 a.m. Monday at the center with burial to follow in Colombiere Cemetery.
Memorials: Jesuit International Missions or Jesuit Partnership, 2059 N. Sedgwick St., Chicago, IL 60614.
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